Sunday, January 29, 2017

A Watched Elf Never Boils

It’s been quite the week here at the Elfin Haus! Last week, we talked about trying to get more organized and efficient by planning menus ahead and prepping everything to be done by Tuesday. Well, we are happy to report that we made great strides toward that reality! Sure enough, by supper time Tuesday, we had completed all the tasks and preparation necessary to have our weekly meals planned, cooked or otherwise decided. This doesn’t mean that we didn’t set foot in the Kinky Elfery Kitchen the rest of the week; it just means that we got everything done meal-wise for the rest of the week. WHAT A GREAT FEELIN’!!
OK, so our FFVK recipe for the week was Zuppa Vegana:  Italian Potato, Bean, and Kale Soup.
We did not find the bag of small potatoes that were multi-colored (red, white and gold) but we did spy a bag of small purple potatoes. The Elf’s MOST favorite color is purple, so we had to get them. This was a fun recipe to prepare, so let’s get to it! First, we got our mis en place. We were not able to locate the borlotti beans that Susan recommended but we did find cranberry beans. There are quite good. The beans you see in the mise en place have already been cooked. You also see the spices (dried oregano, dried basil, fennel seeds and dried rosemary), ‘chickin’ bouillon and minced garlic.
 We had the pound of purple potatoes in the colander after being washed (aren't they gorgeous!).
 We sautéed the onions in water
 then added the garlic for another quick minute. We then added the broth (bouillon), potatoes, fresh, and fresh chopped kale. (WE LOVE KALE!)  We did add the two optional ingredients of nutritional yeast and non-dairy milk (cashew milk was our choice) at the end after blending it until smooth and then adding to the soup. This gives is a richer flavor and creamier texture.
 The end result is quite lovely in appearance; actually made us think of Mardi Gras! Golden broth, green kale and purple potatoes!

 THEN, we added sautéed plant-based Italian Sausages (The Gentle Chef) for a little extra zip and substance and served with some toasted rye and pumpernickel bread.
 You know, we must confess that as we were plating this soup, we told Big Solid that we had some thoughts that it would not be one of our favorites. WELL, your Elf could NOT have been more wrong. In fact, we are going to make it again this week just to have on hand for lunch. We LOVED it!! Of course, we bumped up the red pepper flakes and added a bit of cayenne but that’s the joy of cooking with Susan’s recipes. She always tells you to taste and season, so we do! Thanks you Susan for such a delicious recipe…we will enjoy this one often. So, since we seem to be on a soup roll, we have selected another soup to prepare this week:  Ethiopian Red Lentil Soup.

Another recipe that is found in the FatFree Vegan Kitchen index comes from Dr. John McDougall’s book The Starch Solution (most recipes developed by his wife, Mary). Your Elf is a pancake lover; Big Solid is not. So, we decided to fix the McDougall fat and egg free recipe for Fluffy Pancakes for a weekend treat.
The recipe calls for a mix by the name of Sunsweet Lighter Bake, which is no longer available. However, Mrs. Dr. McDougall does give you a recipe to make it yourself; it’s basically pureed prunes to which we added a couple of Tablespoons of ground flax meal. It’s used in place of any oil or butter. Sparkling water is used to promote fluffiness. Well, as you can see…the pancakes look really nice. We served them with non-McDougall endorsed plant-based maple breakfast sausage patties and drizzled with dark maple syrup.

 We were SO excited to dive into these!! Only WAIT…they were totally flat. No fluffiness AT ALL. All we could taste was mashed banana as that was the end result consistency. NOW…we KNOW that this recipe is tried and true by hundreds of thousands of people…so this HAD to be an Elfic FAIL! We are DETERMINED to try it again, only this time, at half the recipe. We wound up throwing the unused batter out. 

Tonight is Taco Night but the filling is nothing new…a tried and true mixture of Boca crumbles and mashed extra firm tofu that has been pressed to remove as much water as possible.
We have still some great Salad Days lettuce from our Farm Pack and tomatoes. We’ll grate some Daiya cheese, chop some onion and enjoy immensely! These are the pictures from last week’s Taco Night…same thing tonight! 

Gosh, January has come and gone already!! We are working on some really cool vegan Mardi Gras recipes from a terrific little book that your Elf’s BFFs gave her for Christmas.

 It will be interesting to see how the great NOLA recipes translate into vegan cuisine!!

And, FINALLY, we introduce you to the NEWEST member of the Elfin family...Ed the 5 lb. Chihuahua.
 We've had our elfin eyes on Ed for a while, hoping he would find a forever home. Alas, senior dogs are very hard to place and when there is the complication of some health issues...damn near impossible. Ed is 10 years old, has NOT A TOOTH IN HIS HEAD (with a resulting malformation of his lower jaw), AND he's heart-worm positive. Yet he's full of life, love, and energy; we just couldn't stand the thought of him being a shelter dog for the rest of his life, so we picked him up Monday. He's undergoing heart-worm treatment (so far so good) and has not one bit of difficulty eating moistened food.  He's had no trouble fitting in and found a way to crawl in bed pretty quickly.

This is now an Elfin wrap for January! Until we meet the first Sunday in February, remember to always Look for the GOOD, be an EXAMPLE of the GOOD, and ACT for the GOOD as HARD as you can, in as MANY WAYS as you can, EVERY DAY that you can. In other words, “DO EPIC”!

Your Elf

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